Dark Angel 2×03 – Proof Of Purchase

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Proof of Purchase is the first clear-cut example of Dark Angel straying too far from the show’s DNA. In fact it feels like a completely different animal, and I’m not sure I like it.

The episode core’s plot with Alec getting captured by White and offering his transgenic-killing services is somewhat intriguing, but the execution just isn’t as exciting as it sounds. The most noteworthy development here is the fact that Alec has no problem killing animal-looking “freaks”, but struggles when it comes to the ones who looks like him (as evident by him saving the young X6). I guess even transgenics judge others by their appearances huh?

Alec’s explosive predicament also foils Max and Logan’s chance at curing the virus after they find a Manticore tech. Max ultimately ends up making a difficult choice as she asks the scientist to save Alec’s life with the money they had. That sequence ends up being the hour’s most poignant, as Alec realizes how much of a hero Max is.

Proof of Purchase also depicts Joshua’s search for Sandeman culminating with Max seeing the Manticore cane and remembering that Father did indeed consider her special. It also gives Max more incentive to find him as Joshua points out that she could also uncover a cure for the virus. These revelations aren’t too elegantly executed, but they get the job done and provide sufficient momentum for the season.

There’s quite a bit of mythology in this one as Lydecker finds Renfro’s card and stumbles onto an Indian burial site with the Manticore symbol. This somehow relates to a legend about selective breeding with mothers being forced to have children countless times over. Before things gets too juicy, Deck of course gets run off the road and it ends up being Lydecker’s final appearance on the show. A pity, as John Savage was superb.

Post-Pulse Bits

– So how does Alec make money in a Post-Pulse world? He uses his enhanced skills to kick ass in a boxing ring and make a quick buck. He also calls himself Monty Cora (a not too subtle nod at Manticore).

– The kitchen scene between Max and Logan as they gossip and make dinner feels like a pure season one scene – it’s both lighthearted and fun. That is until Max dumps the sauce (thanks to the virus) and leaves because it’s “too hard’. And don’t even get me started on the atrocious glass touching scene with the dramatic piano strings. Ugh. Melodramatic much?

– Hilarious scene with the photographer filming his pornstar wife as she vacuums until Joshua interrupts the desperate couple.

– Well, since Cindy has absolutely anything to do this season, it’s commendable that they made Sketchy a conspiracy theorist (particularly regarding transgenics) right under Max’s nose.

– Lizard guy? Panther Lady? Oh lord. It’s downright laughable. Please don’t jump the shark show.

– Why does Max still not own a phone? Even Alec points out that it’s stupid how she has to keep running to find a payphone every time Logan needs her. (Not to mention Normal’s probably pissed about Jam Pony’s phone bill).

– Nice continuity from season one with Logan selling his paintings to pay the lab tech.

– This episode introduces us to Terminal City, which we discover was sealed off from the city with all its toxicity (which the transgenics are conveniently immune from).

– The only action highlight of the hour: Max coming to Joshua’s rescue on her bike by flipping over the cop and kicking ass. But then it’s just weird as she kicks him a zillion times to knock him out as if she has the strength of a normal human.

– White is extremely annoying. Couldn’t they have cast someone more nuanced than Martin Cummins?

– Awesome little twist with Joshua not having a barcode (since he’s the “first“) after Alec turns on him

– I love how Max tells Alec she can’t even look at him, and Joshua protectively stands next to her as she sobs.

– I don’t remember why, but Geneva Locke (the actress who played young Max in season one) isn’t part of the show anymore. You can see a completely different actress in the mini-flashback at the end.

– The ending with Max kissing Joshua as he sleeps and blowing out the candles is useless and so far removed from what the show is all about.

Barbs & Barcodes

Fighter: What the hell are you?
Alec: Better.

Logan: You know, it’s okay, because if you just turn up the flame, heat kills pretty much anything.
Max: Salmonella maybe, but not a Frankenstein virus targeted specifically to your DNA. You know, it’s bad enough they made it so we can’t touch; now we can’t even have dinner.

Photographer: Ooh that’s nice. Let’s get some shots of you vacuuming the sofa.
Woman: Okay.
Photographer: What are you turning that on for? Nobody’s gonna know the difference.
Woman: Yeah, but I might as well get it done, right?

Tech: I’m the one who spliced your DNA to the virus substrate.
Max: Keep bragging about it and I’m gonna kick your ass.

Max: Logan found an ex-Manticore tech who thinks he can cure the virus.
Cindy: When you gonna let your face in on the good news?

Cindy: (to Sketchy) Wigga, you faded

Sketchy: (to Asha)If I was making creatures in a lab, I’d make ’em look just like you.
Cindy: Leave her alone, fool. And stop reading this trash before you ruin what’s left of your brain cells.

White: That was a very impressive display last night.
Alec: It’s so nice to have fans.
White: Tell me, 494, have you been in contact with this girl? We know that you were breeding partners back at Manticore.
Alec: It was just a summer fling.

White: Always assume they’re lying, you’ll live longer.

Logan: (to Alec) Don’t you people ever knock?

Max: You don’t know anything about genetic enhancement?
Woman: (showing her breasts) He got me these.

Tech: (to Alec) Mind my asking how you ended up with one of these pop guns attached to your brain stem?
Max: Because he’s a cold-blooded, opportunistic showoff who thought he could run his game on a major bad guy who, it turns out, is an even bigger scumbag than he is! That about cover it?

Tech: I can disarm it. It’ll cost you ten grand.
Max: That the only number you know?

Conclusion


It’s fine in theory, but Proof Of Purchase is a somewhat tedious hour of Dark Angel.

Nad Rating
C

9 comments

  1. I'm pretty indifferent on this one. The part with the lizard thing in the sewer almost eating the dog upset me. Leave the dog alone! They really downgraded Michael Weatherly this season, didn't they?

  2. In the opening episodes, Weatherly has quite the small role you're right. It gets better later on. There were strong rumors back then that Weatherly (who was engaged to Alba this season), had a MAJOR issue with Ackles being given the spotlight and that he and Alba complained to Cameron quite a bit about this. I have no idea if it's true or not but I chose to believe they all loved each other ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who misses the season one witty banter and flirty vibe between Max & Logan. You're right the kitchen scene was a welcome throwback to the good ol' days…too bad it didn't last. That's the kind of humour I miss, and I wish we had more of that instead of the new type of “humour” we get in season two: Joshua's Slapstick Hijinks. So this is where I have to disagree with you in finding that scene with the photographer hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm getting pretty tired of Joshua's broad comedy stylings…whether he's flinging paint around, crashing into things or gobbling food… it's just…not… funny to me. Thank you for pointing out the sad fact that Original Cindy gets nothing to do anymore. I hate that and I blame Joshua, and whichever writer(s) created his character. Is there some really famous comedian under the dog-boy makeup, and that's why the writers/producers are catering to him and featuring him so much?

  4. Why didn't Max prevent the doctor/tech from escaping after he saved Alec's life?
    She could have accommodated him in one of Logan's safe-houses where he could finish his studies and find a cure for the virus. Instead she just stood there and watched him leave.

  5. Oh no ๐Ÿ™ I hate to say it but I didn't like this one. This was literally “Haven” but for season two. An episode that suddenly shifts its tone entirely that it doesn't even feel like Dark Angel (look at me, an expert on DA now!). Why, just why was there little to no Logan at all? Why did FOX have to do this to the show!

    Rest assured though, I definitely have hope. I see that the next couple of episodes aren't all that great either so at least I'm not expecting much. But it just really boggles my mind why an episode like this failed so much in my opinion. Even Alec couldn't save it for me. All the humorous banter he had going on felt way too much. But I am finally warming up to White a little bit. The actor is TEDIOUS, I agree, but at least he was villainous enough here to make me respect him.

    It also really saddens me to read that this was Lydecker's final appearance :/ I'll get over it, I know, but it's sad to see that they couldn't take this character and actually do something else with it in season two. Both his final episode and the way he died were just unfitting to his legendary character, and I wish he'd gotten a better sendoff (maybe his own crew to start Manticore 2.0 or something? Hehe).

    I still really like Joshua though (unlike popular opinion, apparently) and I'm very intrigued by this whole Father storyline. It's comforting to know that the show is at least still heavily serialized and that even with Manticore physically gone, it's still sort of out there. Do I miss the days of Lydecker and Max sitting side-by-side at a conference with all kinds of tension making you want to rip your teeth off? Sure. And do I miss more Cindy, Tinga and Zack? (Well, maybe not that last one). I still love the premise so much and anytime I hear that score, it gives me goosebumps. And the show literally never LOOKED any better even if this one was a very forgettable hour.

    So here's hoping I enjoy the rest of the season!

  6. You're right, it's so very Haven!!!

    The network interference I was telling you about included firing much of the older cast to appeal to the “youth” demographic. That's why Madame Renfro and Lydecker were let go and that's really unfortunate (particularly the latter who just disappeared without a proper sendoff).

    And yes, since you love the premise and love the universe, you will always enjoy anything this show throws at you. I think that's why I'm still so in love with it so many years later ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Itโ€™s interesting reading the comments above & your opinion laid out on the review. Iโ€™m the only one who thought this episode was engaging ๐Ÿ˜‚ I didnโ€™t see any filler at all & thought the drama & action were both on point in this one like the two previous episodes. Re-watching season 2 hasnโ€™t let me down so far.

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